Celebrating Les Fêtes de la Fin d'Année


As a teaching assistant, my year is divided by school vacations. These vacation periods are also an important time off for the people of France. During the August break, small businesses post notes on their doors to tell customers they're closed for vacation. The February break often means a family trip to the Alps to ski. At the end of December, there are two weeks of holiday vacation. This break coincides with les fêtes de la fin d'année (end of the year holidays).

What tradition did I learn about?:

During the month of December, I learned how les fêtes de la fin d'année (end of the year holidays) are celebrated in France. The first sign of this time of year is the holiday market. Over the first weekend of December, small wooden cabins appear in the town square. Local artisans and merchants fill the cabins with their products. In Le Puy, the holiday market also included an ice skating rink! Around town, festive lights are strewn between lamp posts. Stores create beautiful displays of their gifts to entice customers into their shops. The Sunday farmers' market sells bunches of holly and mistletoe. The school vacation starts. Businesses close. People travel throughout France and Europe to spend time with family. Families bake cookies and prepare large, hearty meals together.